PINHEAD INSTITUTE: LEARNING ABOUT THE SURROUNDING UNIVERSE

Pinhead Institute and Telluride Ski & Golf Bring Stargazing Series

Ever looked up at the night’s sky and wondered what exactly a “galaxy” is? Ever gazed through a telescope and contemplated life on another planet? There is no better place to view the universe as glow dome than to sit on a high-elevation mountain-top ridge, hundreds of miles from the nearest metropolis, with little or no light pollution to block your view.
Telluride is that place.

Join Telluride’s Pinhead Institute as we offer a unique opportunity to delve deeper into the mysteries of the planets and stars under the guidance of experts. We are hosting a Stargazing Series to help answer all your heavenly questions.

Simon Porter is a PhD candidate at Arizona State University and a Predoctoral Fellow at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, AZ, where he works on planetary dynamics and long-term orbital evolution.

Monday, July 16, the presentation is entitled “Our Galaxy, Other Galaxies, and the Wider Universe.” It features Porter, whose initial talk is scheduled at the Telluride Ski & Golf Plaza Clubhouse. The introduction is followed by a stargazing experience at the top of Coonskin Ridge at Telluride Ski & Golf’s wedding site, where telescopes are set up on the platform and stargazers have plenty of space on the lawn to spread out.

Twenty years ago, astronomers found the first planets orbiting another star. Today, almost 800 worlds beyond our solar system are known to exist. How do astronomers look for distant planets and what are the chances of life thriving on any of these worlds? How do researchers plan to figure out whether we are alone or just one of many civilizations?

Dr. Christopher Crockett is an astronomer at the U.S. Naval Observatory in Flagstaff, AZ, who researches the birth and evolution of planetary systems in our galaxy. By looking for planets orbiting very young stars near our sun, Crockett hopes to shed some light on where and how planets form. He is also a passionate science educator and can frequently be seen standing on a sidewalk in downtown Flagstaff with a telescope, encouraging passers-by to view Jupiter and other celestial bodies.

Monday, July 23, when the talk is “Planet Hunting and the Search for Life,” Dr. Christopher Crockett, who will talk about the discovery of new worlds and ways of determining if there are sentient beings elsewhere than Planet Earth.

Both presentations, July 16 and July 23, begin at 7:30 p.m., followed by stargazing at 8:45 p.m. A cash bar and menu are available during the presentations to fuel hungry minds.

The Pinhead Institute suggests a donation of $20 per person or $35 for both presentations.

In conjunction with these presentations, Telluride Ski & Golf’s EcoAdventures is hosting a children’s program to coincide with the Stargazing Series and provide a fun and educational experience to excite and inspire young ones. Kids ages 7-12 are invited to join in making telescopes and other fun astronomical activities.

The cost for the kids’ program is $35 per child, per event.

For more information, please visit pinheadinstitute.org or call 970.708.7441.

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